Posted 6 February
“Through our students, alumni, staff and industry partners, we are continually working to ensure the sector has the research, skills and talent it needs to succeed – something I was keen to show the Minister during his visit. Bringing key Government figures to Harper Adams to share this work is crucial, and I am pleased we had the chance to talk to the Minister.”
Harper Adams University has welcomed Minister of State for Food, Farming and Fisheries, the Rt Hon Mark Spencer MP, to its campus to meet staff and students and discuss the University’s work.
Mr Spencer met University Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Sloan and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Lee before being taken on a tour of the Harper Adams Future Farm and visiting the University’s Veterinary Education Centre.
At the University’s Future Farm, the Minister heard more about its work in delivering world class teaching experiences and research, being shown its Smart Dairy and discussing the role of the farm to lead the development of knowledge around Net Zero farming practices.
He then met students and staff at the University’s Veterinary Education Centre, where he was met with a cohort of Veterinary Medicine students in the centre’s Surgical Training Suite. Among the topics students raised were the need for a diversity of routes into veterinary medicine, the importance of backing British farming, and the UK’s need for more skilled vets.
Head of the Harper and Keele Veterinary School, Professor Matt Jones, said: This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to engage with the Minister.
“They did so very effectively and covered a lot of ground. For us to know that leaders in Government hear directly about the various challenges we are facing is reassuring.
“He understood the key issues around ensuring we have a veterinary public health workforce that can protect our economy, animals and people.”
The Minister’s visit was followed by a Question Time event hosted by Farmers Weekly, hosted in the University’s Food Academy, at which the Minister was a panellist alongside Professor Lee, author and sustainable food expert Vicki Herd, and arable farming YouTuber Olly Harrison.
Professor Lee added: “It was wonderful to welcome the Minister to Harper Adams, and to appear alongside him at the inaugural Farmers Weekly Question Time event – which was a well-attended, well-informed and lively occasion.
“It’s right for Harper Adams to continue to draw such high-profile interest and we welcome such leading industry figures to our campus as we continue our work to support the farming community for a just agricultural transition.”
During the event Professor Lee commented on the importance of balancing the provision of public and private goods on farm and rewarding farmers appropriately through fixing the value chain.
He also emphasised the importance of supporting food production through recognising food security as a public good, drawing on the leading recommendation from the recently published School of Sustainable Food and Farming report on the Application of Science to Realise the Potential of the Agricultural Transition.
Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Sloan added: “As the Minister himself has noted, the work British farmers and food producers do in ensuring food security is a vital part of our national infrastructure.
“Through our students, alumni, staff and industry partners, we are continually working to ensure the sector has the research, skills and talent it needs to succeed – something I was keen to show the Minister during his visit.
“Bringing key Government figures to Harper Adams to share this work is crucial, and I am pleased we had the chance to talk to the Minister.”